President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, opens Showcase, Ireland's Creative Expo

18th January 2015

Largest International Trade Fair in Ireland Welcomes Buyers from 26 Countries, includingthe UK, North America, Germany, France, Benelux and Japan.

  • Showcase 2015 marks an exciting start to Irish Design 2015 (ID2015)
  • The fair’s new look is set to wow 5,000+ attendees from Ireland and abroad
  • Increased demand forecast for products designed and made in Ireland
  • New buyers attracted from China following President Higgins’ state visit in December 2014
  • Sales orders in excess of €20 million are expected over four days
  • 464 exhibitors unveil their latest collections and open their order books

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins officially opened Showcase - Ireland’s Creative Expo® today, Sunday, 18th January 2015. Showcase, which takes place at the RDS in Dublin, is the country’s largest international trade fair, attracting buyers from all over Ireland and 26 countries around the world. Showcase estimates trade order sales in excess of €20 million over the four days of the show, which runs until Wednesday, 21st January. 

Now in its 39th year, Showcase has become a must see event for retailers to source unique Irish design and craft. This year sees an almost 10% increase in exhibitor numbers on 2014, with 464 of Ireland’s leading designers, manufacturers and craft makers at Showcase 2015, presenting thousands of high-quality products, which are often unique to the show, to over 5,000 retail buyers. The fair attracts trade visitors from all over the world, driven by ongoing direct marketing in partnership with Enterprise Ireland offices abroad.

Showcase 2015 is the first international trade event as part of the year long programme for Irish Design 2015 (ID2015), of which President Higgins is Patron.  ID2015 is a government-backed initiative exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design throughout Ireland and internationally in order to drive job creation, grow exports and increase competitiveness.

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the main driver behind Showcase. According to Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, the annual trade fair is central to DCCoI’s ambitious plans for growing the market for Irish design and craft both at home and abroad. “Showcase has become a vital event for small and medium sized enterprises keen to break into export markets or expand their existing international presence. Thanks to Enterprise Ireland’s promotion of the fair abroad, Showcase continues to attracts buyers from all over the world and we are anticipating a very strong event this year, with up to €20 million in sales orders. Through the Irish Design 2015 programme, we will also be bringing Irish designers and makers to international capitals of design and commerce this year, aligning with Enterprise Ireland’s calendar of trade missions, in order to promote Irishdesign and creativity around the world. The overall aim of these activities is to maximise the potential for increased sales and exports of Irish design and craft, ensuring the long-termdevelopment of this vibrant sector,” she said. 

To celebrate ID2015, Showcase has been given a complete visual make over and the new look, which is built around the idea of nature and creativity, has been implemented across all aspects of the show from visual displays to the daily fashion shows.  Also to mark the commencement of ID2015, DCCoI has worked with curators Clare Grennan and Laura Caffery of Irish Design Shop to create SHOP Showcase, a curated selection of beautiful products, all designed and made in Ireland, presented in a retail pop-up shop at the trade fair.

For 2015, Showcase will once again be streamlined under fashion, jewellery and home and gift by specialist curators Sonia Reynolds (fashion), Natasha Sherling (jewellery) and Eleanor Harpur (home and gift). These appointed experts will make viewing the best products easier for the discerning visitor and will also select products for the Best Product Awards at the show, nominating winners across four categories – jewellery, fashion, accessories, home and gift.

Key highlights of Showcase 2015:

  • Creative Island remains at the heart of the show, presenting authentic Irish craft products designed and made in Ireland, featuring 90 commercial designer-makers who were chosen by an independent jury for their creativity, innovation and craftsmanship.
  • Located within Creative Island, SHOP Showcase stocks a carefully chosen mix of heritage and contemporary design from both emerging and established makers to inspire buyers with ideas on presenting Irish products in a live retail setting.
  • Daily runway shows take place Sunday – Tuesday, presenting the latest fashion from Irish designers. 
  • Bigger than ever, the Enterprise Zone at Showcase 2015 fully occupies the balcony of the main hall at the RDS, featuring over 100 exhibitors supported by their Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs).
  • Delivered in association with IEDR, an extensive retail seminar programme over the four days of the show features top international industry speakers delivering thought provoking presentations and providing retailers with expertise, research and advice.

Showcase is promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland. According to Stephen Hughes, Consumer Retail Manager, Enterprise Ireland: "Showcase is a valuable route to international markets for Irish companies in the design and craft sectors, who have the ambition and capability to win export contracts. The calibre of international buyers attracted to Showcase by Enterprise Ireland is truly impressive and testament to the quality and strong design offer that Irish companies in the consumer craft sector have for international buyers. Enterprise Ireland's teams at home and abroad have worked hard to deliver a major increase in the number of new first-time buyers attending Showcase this year. As always, we look forward to welcoming first-time international buyers to Showcase, some of them from new markets like China and Spain, as well as to extending a warm welcome back to the many key international buyers who return year after year.  The ambition is to showcase what is new and innovative in Irish design, craft and craftsmanship and, ultimately, to win export orders."

This year there is a record number of small design and craft businesses selling a wide range of quality Irish products featuring in the Enterprise Zone at Showcase, all supported by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs). Vincent Reynolds, Chairperson of the LEO Network, said: “2015 sees the largest ever investment by the LEOs in the Enterprise Zone at Showcase with 105 companies exhibiting compared to 90 last year. Meeting both domestic and international buyers at the Enterprise Zone gives these micro-enterprises the invaluable opportunity to access new markets, grow their business and create employment in their locality, ultimately feeding into the overall recovery of the Irish economy. Showcase deserves huge credit for putting a spotlight on the potential for small craft and design businesses in Ireland”.

Showcase 2015 runs from Sunday, 18th January to Wednesday, 21st January and is for trade attendance only. For further details on the event, see:



For further press information please contact:

Aoife Smith, Sorcha Furlong or Emma Kelly at Elevate PR on 01-6625652 or /

About Showcase:

Showcase – Ireland’s Creative Expo® - is the country’s largest international trade show.  The annual event is attended by over 5,000 buyers from Ireland and up to 26 countries around the world, generating sales orders of up to €20 million over the four days of the show. Showcase is a partnership between the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and Showcase Ireland Events Ltd., with support from Enterprise Ireland in promoting the show internationally through their network of offices overseas.  The SHOWCASE device and “Showcase – Ireland’s Creative Expo® - are registered trademarks of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Castle Yard, Kilkenny, Ireland.

About Irish Design 2015:

Through a year-long programme of events and activities exploring, promoting and celebrating Irish design both in Ireland and internationally, Irish Design 2015 (D2015) aims to showcase the very best of Irish design in order to drive job creation, grow exports and increase competitiveness.  As part of ID2015, Dubin has been designated World Design Hub 2015 by the International Association of Designers, providing Ireland with a platform to promote the skills and talents of Irish designers to a worldwide audience.  Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, is Patron of Irish Design 2015 and the initiative has been included in the Irish Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. ID2015 is being convened by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI), in collaboration with partner organisations, on behalf of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Enterprise Ireland.  Irish Design 2015 partners include Founding Partners - MCO Projects; Accommodation Partners - The Doyle Collection; Venue Partners - OPW; Exhibition Partners – DAA; and Technology Partners - IBM.


About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland:  

The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the main champion of the design and craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. DCCoI's activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has over 75 member organisations and over 3,000 registered clients.